The coronavirus pandemic has led to the cancellation of four UFC events, but president Dana White has insisted the mixed martial arts giants would host fights as soon as possible. To that end, he has announced plans for a UFC 249 fight card in Jacksonville. The 11-bout UFC 249 card is highlighted by a pair of championship fights, with Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje squaring off in the main event for the interim lightweight title.
Ferguson and Gaethje will be the final act on one of the most stacked UFC cards in recent memory. Ferguson is a -180 favorite (risk $180 to win $100) at William Hill, while Gaethje is a +155 underdog. In the co-main event, two-division champion Henry Cejudo (-240) puts the bantamweight title on the line against former champion Dominick Cruz (+200). Before you lock in any picks for the UFC 249 card, make sure you check out the latest UFC predictions from SportsLine MMA analyst Kyle Marley.
Marley won the first-ever “ToutMaster” UFC betting contest sponsored by MMAOddsBreaker and also appears regularly on multiple MMA betting and DFS shows. Over the past year, $100 bettors who have followed Marley’s picks are up nearly $19,000.
At UFC 248, Marley told SportsLine members to expect middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (-275) to retain his title against Yoel Romero (+235) by unanimous decision. He argued that Adesanya would pick Romero apart on the feet and was proven correct, as the champ dominated the action with leg kicks while dodging Romero’s explosive power. Also, Marley went a stunning 9-2-1 at UFC Fight Night 170, the last UFC event. Anyone who has consistently followed Marley is way up.
Now, with UFC 249 fast approaching, Marley has carefully studied every matchup on the card, identified the best value in the UFC odds and released his MMA picks for every fight. Those selections are only available at SportsLine.
Gaethje vs. Ferguson preview
Marley knows the 36-year-old Ferguson (25-3) comes in on a 12-fight winning streak and hasn’t lost since May 2012. He is revered for his fearlessness and ability to win through a variety of MMA disciplines. Six of his last eight victories have come by stoppage, including a TKO of Donald Cerrone last year and a submission of Anthony Pettis in October 2018. The top-ranked Ferguson briefly held the interim belt after beating Kevin Lee by submission in October 2017.
Ferguson faces a challenge from the No. 4-ranked Gaethje (21-2), the former World Series of Fighting champion who has been waiting for a title opportunity amid a crowded division. It is believed the winner of the May 9 main event will get to challenge the Russian champ for the unified title.
Gaethje, 31, is known for his knockout power and relentless aggression. He started his UFC campaign with a 1-2 mark, but has since won three straight bouts by first-round knockout. He stopped Cerrone in September 2019. Gaethje has 18 knockouts among his 21 career MMA victories and only gone to a decision twice in his career. See Marley’s picks for Ferguson vs. Gaethje and every fight on the upcoming UFC 249 card here.
Top UFC 249 predictions
We’ll share one of Marley’s UFC 249 predictions here: He is backing Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (+115) to get back on track with an upset of Anthony Pettis (-150) in a clash of welterweight veterans.
Cerrone (36-14-1) holds several UFC records, including all-time victories with 22, but many MMA observers wonder whether the Denver native is in the twilight of his career following three straight stoppage losses. The 37-year-old was memorably humiliated at UFC 246 in January when he was stopped by Conor McGregor in 40 seconds without landing a single strike.
The 33-year-old Pettis (22-10) also is looking for career rejuvenation following losses in four of his past six bouts. The former lightweight champion stunned the MMA world with a knockout of Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson in March of last year, but has since dropped two straight bouts. He was submitted by Carlos Diego Ferreira in the second round of their January bout.
“Cerrone is the better all-around fighter, but he isn’t as durable as he used to be,” Marley told SportsLine. “If this goes all three rounds, I like Cowboy to get his hand raised.”
How to make UFC 249 picks
Marley also has strong picks for Ferguson vs. Gaethje and every other bout on the UFC 249 card. He’s also backing one man who’s “the scariest fighter alive.” You can only see every pick for every UFC fight here.
Who wins Ferguson vs. Gaethje? And how exactly does each fight end? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed picks on every UFC 249 fight, all from the accomplished expert who’s up almost $19,000, and find out.
UFC 249 odds
Tony Ferguson (-180) vs. Justin Gaethje (+155)
Henry Cejudo (-240) vs. Dominick Cruz (+200)
Francis Ngannou (-260) vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (+210)
Calvin Kattar (-270) vs. Jeremy Stephens (+220)
Anthony Pettis (-135) vs. Donald Cerrone (+115)
Greg Hardy (-175) vs. Yorgan De Castro (+150)
Fabricio Werdum (-300) vs. Aleksei Oleinik (+240)
Jacare Souza (-125) vs. Uriah Hall (+105)
Vicente Luque (-270) vs. Niko Price (+220)
Bryce Mitchell (-180) vs. Charles Rosa (+155)
Ryan Spann (-360) vs. Sam Alvey (+280)
Carla Esparza (-150) vs. Michelle Waterson (+125)